Building a Project - Cutting »
Building a Project - Drilling »
Building a Project - Finishing »
Building a Project - Hardware »
Building a Project - Joining »
Building a Project - Measuring »
Building a Project - Modifying Plans »
Building a Project - Preparation »
Building a Project - Routing »
Building a Project - Sanding »
Building a Project - Screws »
Building a Project - Shopping »
Building a Project - Transporting »
Building a Project - Wood »
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Building a Project - Cutting

If it smells like burning wood, it’s very likely that your blade is dull and therefore unable to cut your material. It could also be moving too fast or too slow through the cut, so you may need to increase/decrease your feed rate.

There are several cutting guides on the market to help with this. Whether you use a guide that attaches to your circular saw or an edge guide that attaches to your material, there are plenty of options available. If you’re working with a table saw, make sure that your fence is square and that your blade is perfectly perpendicular to the table. If either one of these things are off, it will compromise the accuracy of your cut.

To decrease the amount of tear out and produce a nicer cut, try using a higher-tooth-count blade. You can also place a sacrificial piece under your material to reduce tear out.

Whether you’re using a circular saw or a table saw, be sure that you choose the right blade for the job. This is especially important with a circular saw, since most come with a blade that’s meant for fast cuts in framing lumber, not finished cuts in plywood. Table saws, on the other hand, usually come with a better blade, but usually one that’s meant to do everything reasonably, rather than cutting one type of material especially well.

With either saw, a blade with a higher tooth count will equal a smoother cut. A blade with carbide-tipped teeth will perform better, as well. Invest in a decent-quality, carbide-tipped blade. Look for a blade that has words like “finish quality,” “fine cut,” or “plywood” in the description.

Carbide-tipped saw blades have a longer life. They also provide cleaner cuts over the life of the blade versus steel-tooth blades.

The more teeth a blade has, the finer the cut will be. You will want to use blades with finer teeth for rough cutting your material as it will leave a rough edge. If you are wanting a finished cut you will want to use a blade with more teeth.

Table saws can be very useful tools for any project. While you may be able to accomplish most tasks with a circular saw, a table saw allows for greater accuracy and speed. Because table saws take up a decent amount of space, you’ll need to make sure you have adequate room to house one.

A jig saw is a hand-held saw that can be either corded or cordless. It features a blade that cuts using an up-and-down motion. A jig saw is great for cutting small notches and curves that would not be possible with a circular saw.

A circular saw is a commonly-used hand saw that can be either corded or cordless. It’s used to make straight cuts in plywood and dimensional lumber. Most use a 7-1/4″ blade, which allows for a large depth of cut. You will want to take note of the blade’s arbor size (the diameter of the blade-mounting hole), as it can vary by vendor. This will be the number you need when you go to purchase new or additional blades. Combined with a fence or edge guide, a circular saw can be used to make very accurate cuts.

Any time you need to make more than a few parts that will be the exact same size, it’s best to measure and mark them at the same time. You’ll be more likely to remain consistent from part to part. Of course, this is a good time to practice that old adage we mentioned first—measure twice, cut once—to make sure you get all the parts right, instead of all wrong.

Depending on the author of the project plan, there may be a materials and cut list. It will lay out all of the materials you will need to purchase in order to complete the project, and where to cut the material to form your project pieces. If the plan doesn’t include a materials/cut list, you will need to calculate the materials needed based on the size of your project.

There are a couple different ways you can do this. The first option will leave behind more scraps, but tends to be easier. Purchase items closest to the size you will need. While this option requires the least amount of cutting, it will be more expensive. The other option is to calculate the best use of your material. Essentially, calculate the most pieces you can get out of your material. By buying longer or wider material, you may be able to cut it into two or three project pieces. This will save you money, but require more money.

Building a Project - Drilling

Drill bits are available for a number of different materials. The packaging on drill bits will describe what type of materials they are meant for. Match up the drill bit to the type of material you are using it on and you should not have any problems.

Corded drills are great for heavy and continual use. They are able to produce more power and are recommended for heavy-duty applications. Cordless drills are great for around-the-house and mobile projects where power may be limited. However, you are restricted by the amount of battery life your drill has. Make sure that you always have a backup battery on the charger so you do not get stopped partway through your project.

Building a Project - Finishing

A gallon of paint will cover approximately 300-400 square feet with one coat, but this can vary depending on the quality of paint.

A gallon of shellac will cover approximately 250-350 square feet with one coat. You will usually want 2-3 coats on your project to produce a good-looking finish.

Lacquer is usually applied from a spray can, therefore coverage can vary greatly. Check with your lacquer manufacturer for coverage recommendations.

A gallon of polyurethane will cover approximately 400-500 square feet. You will want to use 2-3 coats to get you a good, protective surface.

A gallon of stain will cover approximately 400 square feet. This can vary depending on the manufacturer. Depending on the desired color, you may have to apply multiple coats.

There are many different types of finishes available. It will come down to personal preference on how you want your finished product to look and what kind of material you are using. It is recommended to take a scrap piece and apply a small amount of finish to see what the end result will be. Some of the most-common finishes are described below.

Paint can be applied to almost any type of material. It offers a thin layer of protection and can easily be repaired if damaged. The number of coats needed will vary depending upon your material and desired look. Paint is very customizable, as it allows you to choose from nearly any color you can image.

Shellac can be virtually clear to a rich orange color depending on the application. It offers some protection against water but very little against corrosive substances.

Lacquer creates a transparent finish that will give a good gloss. Because lacquer uses toxic solvents, you will need gloves and masks to work with it. It is recommended that your spray lacquer onto your material so that you can get an even finish.

Varnish will give you a great transparent, glossy finish. It offers excellent protection against liquids and most corrosive substances. Varnish contains toxic solvents so safety protection is required.

Polyurethane will be transparent and can be purchased in few different variations of sheen, allowing you to get the look you want. It offers excellent protection against many different substances due to it being a very tough finish. Although polyurethane is relatively safe, gloves are recommended. It can be brushed or sprayed on, depending on the application.

This is used to change the color of the material you are working with. Stain is recommended for use with harder woods, since softwoods like pine will not take stain very well without additional preparation. These are the three main types of stain:
– Oil-based is the most-common type of stain. It is also the most difficult to work with. Oil-based stain will offer you the largest selection of color options.
– Gel is also oil-based, but is a lot thicker. It’s designed to be used with hard-to-stain woods and in vertical applications, since it will not run like normal oil-based stain.
– Water-Based is the easiest stain to work with, as it dries quickly and can be cleaned up with soap and water.

This will vary depending upon the type of material you are working with. If your material is very rough, you will want to start with a lower number of sandpaper like 60 or 80 grit. Continue to work your way up higher in numbers until you get to 180-220 grit paper. This should give you a smooth surface that will allow the wood to take your finish, as well as leave the finished product smooth to the touch.

Most of us don’t have a dedicated finishing area, so we need to prepare our space for the job. Start by cleaning up to get rid of dust. Give dust in the air time to settle, too. Add some good lighting, and make sure your space is well-ventilated. When you’re done, be sure to dispose of everything (i.e. hazardous materials) properly.

Building a Project - Hardware

Depending on your project, there are many different types of hinges available. Below we have described a few of the most-common styles.

Butt Hinge
Commonly used on both interior and exterior doors, this hinge consists of two rectangular pieces of metal with holes that attach with screws. The two pieces are joined together with a metal pin that goes through both pieces. This feature is useful if you need to take the door down and will be putting it back up.

This hinge looks like the letter T, as its name implies. It’s most commonly used when making a fence gate or similar application. The horizontal portion goes on the door frame and the vertical part is screwed to the door.

Strap Hinge
Although it’s mainly used for a utility hinge and not meant for looks, there are also decorative versions available. Strap hinges come in various sizes, and are commonly used for lid applications due to being hinged in the center.

Piano Hinge
This is a long, continuous hinge with many screw holes (kind of like a piano). This design distributes the load evenly across the hinge, allowing it to be used in more applications.

Cabinet Hinge
There are many different types of cabinet hinges available, depending on the look you are going for.

– Overlay hinges cover the entire cabinet opening by overlapping the cabinet face. There are different types of overlay, as well, depending on how much overlay you wish to have.
– Inset hinges are used most-commonly used when working with frameless cabinetry. They will have the door sit flush with the cabinet sides or face frame.
– European hinges are concealed in design and most-commonly used with frameless cabinets. They have a mounting plate on one side that attaches to the inside of the cabinet and a cup that seats in a recess in the back of the door. This style offers quite a bit of adjustment, making it a popular option.
– Self-Closing hinges work like their names implies. If opened all the way, they will stay open. Otherwise, they will self-close due to the spring assistance inside. Overlay is the most-common style they come in.

Butterfly Hinge
Also known as screen-door hinges, butterfly hinges have high-strength springs inside, causing them to self-close once opened. They are very common with door applications.

This will depend on what your personal style is. You can choose between drawer pulls and drawer knobs.

Knobs: Drawer and door knobs will be round protrusions from your door or drawer for you to hold on to. This style is the easiest to install since you only have to drill one hole.

Drawer pulls: Drawer and door pulls have two installation holes, which requires more precision to install. These can have a center to center hole spacing from 2½” to 5″. Make sure that you pick a pull that you like before drilling your holes so that you are not stuck with improper spacing.

Building a Project - Joining

Yes, there are fasteners that may be galvanized or coated for exterior use. There are also glues that have been formulated for exterior use. Make sure to use fasteners rated for outdoor use to ensure a long life for your project.

Many projects can be completed with just glue but would need to be clamped in position until the glue dries. You may find it helpful to use both wood and fasteners in a project since the fastener can act as a clamp while the glue dries.

This may be a matter of preference, but they both certainly have their uses. A nail can be quickly driven into material with the simple use of a hammer. Screws tend to offer more holding power and can be removed more easily than a nail.

Building a Project - Measuring

By using an angle square or combination square, you can ensure that you are getting an accurate measurement, as well as a straight line from the edge of your material. This handy tool can also verify that your cuts are truly square.

This one has happened to all of us. You mark where you want to cut, slide a ruler up against it to mark a line, and the line ends up beside the mark instead of on it. To prevent that, hold the tip of your pencil on the mark, and then slide your ruler against the pencil. Now, when you draw your line, it will be exactly where you wanted it.

Chalk can be used to create a long, straight line on a variety of surfaces. This can be valuable in preventing errors, since you will not have to measure continually. Chalk lines are quick, easy to create and follow. Plus, the chalk can be wiped away easily when you’re finished. Please note that this method is good for rough, not finished, cuts.

It is a good idea to have a variety of marking utensils at your disposal, as different materials may not allow for marking in the same way. Pencils, chalk, and markers are a great start. Also note how fine of a line you want and use the most-appropriate marking utensil. If you prefer thin lines that can be erased, go with a pencil. If you like thicker lines and don’t mind non-removable marks, use a marker.

Search for a tape measure that suits your individual needs and feels comfortable to you. If you’re working on small projects around the house, you will most likely never need a 35′ tape measure. A 16′ tape measure should be all you need. Many tape measures today include handy features like magnetic ends and printed fractions to make measuring easier.

You should always strive to measure as accurately as possible. However, the need for measuring really depends on the project and what it will ultimately be used for. If your project is strictly for utility (i.e. a stand for your garage/workshop), the cuts do not have to be perfect.

If your project will become a finished piece (i.e. an entertainment center for your living room), you will definitely want to follow the old phrase “Measure Twice, Cut Once” to ensure you get the highest-quality finished product. In all cases, consistency is more important than outright accuracy.

The most-common measuring tools are a tape measure and square. A tape measure will allow you to measure your project pieces, your space, etc. A square will help you ensure that your project pieces are precise and truly square.

First, decide where you would like to place your project once you are finished building. Using your tape measure, determine the size of your space. Be sure to write down the dimensions. This will help you get a better idea of how the finished project will fit in your space, as well as provide specific measurements for your plan. You may find that you’ll need additional spacing between your project and surrounding furniture items, décor, etc. If so, adjust your measurements accordingly. Always measure twice, or even a few times, just to verify. It is easier to erase a number than it is to buy new material.

Building a Project - Modifying Plans

Depending on where a plan comes from, it can include either metric (i.e. mm, cm) or imperial (inches, feet) measurements. If you are more comfortable using one type over the other, you can easily convert your measurements using the following formulas:

Convert centimeters to inches: Take your measurement and divide it by 2.54.

Convert inches to centimeters: Take your measurement and multiply by 2.54.

This is definitely possible, but the plan may need to be modified. With mortise and tenon joints, you will need to account for the additional material needed to make the tenon. The same is true if you use rabbets and dados.

Yes, within reason, you can adjust any project plan to meet your specifications. Just make sure that you make necessary adjustments to all applicable areas of the plan. For example: If you are following a plan to build an 18″ bookcase, but you prefer that it be 14″, make sure you adjust the measurement for both the top and bottom piece.

This is the best part about building the project yourself. If you are not in love with certain aspects, you can customize the plan to fit your space, style, and needs. Just be sure to modify all of the appropriate measurements as you go.

Building a Project - Preparation

Become fairly familiar with your tools before starting any project. If you recently purchased a new tool, be sure to grab some scrap pieces and test it out. This will help you get a feel for how the tool operates. The more familiar and comfortable you are with your tools, the easier it will be to operate them accurately and safely.

It’s a smart idea to make sure that you have ample space to lay out your entire project. This will make finding the correct project pieces easier, which makes the assembly process run smoother. Lay out all of the tools you’ll need, comparing them against the plan’s tool list as you go. This is also a good time to double-check that all of your tools are in good working condition. If not, add them to your shopping list.

It is recommended that you have a friend or family member on call to assist you. Many times an extra set of hands will prove to be very beneficial. Be sure to work this person’s schedule into your allotted project time so that you can minimize down time.

The time it takes to build a project varies greatly and is dependent upon the size and intricacy of a project, how it’s finished, etc. If your plan includes an estimated build time, do not bank on it. No project-building process is perfect; mistakes happen, no matter how prepared you are. It’s a good idea to always schedule a little extra time beyond what the plan calls for.

Building a Project - Routing

Once you’ve mastered routing edge profiles, you’re bound to want to use them again and again to dress up future projects. You can make this easier by creating a setup block. Just rout along the edge of a block while you still have your bit set up, and then mark the profile on the block. Then, the next time you want to recreate that setup, you can use the block to quickly and easily set the position of your bit.

If you need to rout a profile on the edge of a curved piece, you won’t be able to use the router table fence. That’s where you need a router table insert plate that’s equipped with a start pin. It helps you to start your cut without the bit grabbing your workpiece. You just rest your workpiece against the pin, and then rotate the piece into the bit until the edge makes contact with the router bit bearing

Featherboards and push sticks are great when you are routing along an edge on the router table, but they won’t help you when routing across the end of a narrow piece. If your router table is equipped with a miter slot, you can use a miter gauge to control the workpiece. Another option is to use a push block that rides against the fence

When you’re routing an edge profile, you need to keep the router bit firmly against the wood to maintain control of the cut and to ensure that the profile is consistent. With a handheld router, the weight of the router and the strength of your arms make this fairly easy.

When you’re routing on a table, though, holding the workpiece against the bit can be more of a challenge. To help keep the workpiece in place, use a featherboard, or even two, to help hold your workpiece against the fence and the table as you rout. You can also increase workpiece control (and keep your hands safely away from the bit) by using a push stick.

The process is actually easy if you have a router. In fact, this is pretty much what a router was originally designed to do. You’ll find dozens of decorative profile router bits available, so all you have to do is select one that you like. Routing the profile is easy because these bits have a bearing that follows the edge of your workpiece as you rout. You can create profiles using your router hand-held, which is handy for large projects like a table top. If you’re working with smaller pieces, such as a frame or a drawer front, you can create the profile with your router mounted in a router table

As you push your workpiece past the bit at the end of the cut, tearout can occur. This is especially true when you’re routing the end of a piece. To prevent this tearout, use a backer board. You can add a backer board whether you’re using a miter gauge or you’re routing against the fence.

Routing with a fence requires you to keep your workpiece tight against the bit. Featherboards can be a big help. If possible, install one beside your workpiece and another above it. Workpieces have a tendency to lift while cutting, and the featherboards apply pressure to prevent this from occurring, ensuring a clean, accurate, cut.

Once you know which way to rout, you need to know where to start routing. This might not seem important, but it is because when you’re routing across the end of a board, the bit tends to tear the wood fibers as it exits the wood. So, if you rout across the end first, and then continue along the edge, the bit will cut away the torn-out area, and leave you with a smooth profile. This holds true whether you’re routing handheld or on a table.

When you’re routing on a router table, the rule for a router table is simple: always rout from right to left. This becomes second nature after a while, but may seem backward at first, since it’s opposite from the direction you use with a handheld router. Routing from right to left on a table, though, ensures that you’ll get good results and maintain control of your workpiece.

Building a Project - Sanding

To sand in tight to a corner or up to an edge, wrap some sandpaper around a dull chisel or a putty knife.

Don’t sand wood like you scrub the floor. Use long, even strokes. This way, by sanding in a straight line with the grain, and not going sideways across the grain, your sanding marks will be less visible or hopefully invisible.

The higher the grit level, the smoother the sanded surface will be. If your material is very rough, you will want to start with a lower number of sandpaper like 60 or 80 grit. Continue to work your way up higher in numbers until you get to 180-220 grit paper. This will usually give your wood a sanding fine enough to take your finish, as well as leave the finished product smooth to the touch.

There are many brands and styles of sandpaper available. Some styles offer longer life spans but are more expensive. The life of your paper will greatly vary depending on the application you are using it in and the amount of material you are needing to remove.

There are many different types of sanders on the market. We will explain the most common below:

Orbital sanders: These spin in a random rotation to reduce the appearance of sanding impressions. Make sure that you continually move this sander around to avoid leaving any circular marks on your project.

¼ sheet sander: This type of sander is very common and inexpensive. As the name states, these use a ¼ sheet of sandpaper, so replacement paper is inexpensive.

Detail sander: This sander has very small surface areas. They’re usually pointed to get into tighter locations that a larger sander would not be able to reach.

Belt sander: These can cut through a lot of material in a small amount of time and are recommended for larger projects. Just be careful to not leave this sander in one place for too long, as it will make your piece uneven.

This depends on your preference and the amount of sanding needed to be done. Generally, you will use an electric sander for larger open areas, and then sand by hand in more-delicate and hard-to-reach areas.

Depending on the material, if you don’t do any sanding, imperfections in the wood may show through. Some finishes will not adhere well to materials that are not sanded smooth. This can cause cracking and peeling over time, which will then need to be repaired. Even if you’ll be painting your project, it pays to do some sanding beforehand.

Building a Project - Screws

This will be dependent on how you are fastening your boards together. If you are screwing straight through one board into another, you will want to pick a screw that is just under the combined thickness of the two pieces. However, if you’re screwing the pieces together with the screw going in at an angle, this rule does not apply. In these situations it is best to follow manufacturer recommendations, or use scrap pieces and test different lengths to see which gives you the strongest joint without going through your second piece.

There are quite a few types of screw finishes on the market. Here are a couple of the most common you will see out there:

Plain finish
These screws are most commonly black in color or have an oily residue. This coating allows them to not rust while on the shelf, but will not offer much protection in use. These screws are most commonly used for applications where the screw will be concealed, like in drywall.

Zinc plating
Comprised of a thin coating of zinc applied by electroplating, they will usually have a shiny appearance and offer mild rust resistance. Zinc screws are most commonly used for interior projects.

These screws have a very heavy coating of zinc, which is because they are dipped in hot zinc. They are sometimes then dipped in a zinc powder to add even more rust protection. This finish is most commonly seen in bolts, but some screws are available.

Coated screws feature three anti-corrosion layers, making them the perfect choice for a wide variety of indoor and outdoor projects. Coated screws provide rust-resistance up to 400% greater than zinc-plated screws and work well with pressure-treated material.

Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel does not corrode or rust like ordinary steel does. This is due to the amount of chromium present. Chromium blocks oxygen diffusion and corrosion from spreading by creating a protective barrier. These screws are used in the most-corrosive situations, such as for boats and exterior applications.

There are a couple different ways that you can hide the head of your screw in your project. Depending on how you are finishing your project, the easiest is to paint over the head of the screw. This will make it blend in, but it may still be somewhat noticeable. You can also use concealed fasteners like pocket screws. These will have the screws below the surface, allowing them to be unseen. The last option is to countersink the screws and plug them. This is a method where you will drill a hole the size of the head of the screw just a little bit deeper than the height of the head. That way, once the screw is driven it will be below the surface. You can then use pre-made plugs or caps to cover the hole. Some can be sanded down so that the hole completely disappears. The downside with this method is that it is permanent, as plugs will be glued in place.

There are a few different types of drive methods for fasteners. Here we break down the most common ones out there.

Phillips is the most common driver type on the market. However, this is starting to change with the increased torque on the new drills, which causes these to strip out more frequently. The most common size is #2 but can come in #1 or #3. These numbers refer to the size of driver, with #1 being smallest and #3 being largest.

Flat Head is going to be the least-dependable screw driver type, as it can very easily slip out of the screw head. However, it’s still common in smaller, general-purpose screws.

Square is starting to become more popular with manufacturers, as it gives you four points of contact. This greatly decreases the chances of the head stripping out.

Star (Torx) offers six points of contact.

Hex Head are most-commonly driven with a socket instead of a screwdriver like the examples above. These are easily driven, as your socket will have six or twelve points of contact. However, they will protrude above the surface, so you will have to be okay with seeing them or plan ahead for a way to hide them.

There are many different kinds of screws for projects out on the market. Here are the most common broken down.

Wood Screws: Commonly made of steel, wood screws are specifically designed for use in wood projects. They are commonly used as general purpose screws and do not have a specific application. Typically, they’re threaded all the way down the shank of the screw. They’re also normally coarse thread to give you a stong hold in your material. The majority of wood screws will have an angled head that will taper down to the shaft. This allows the screw to pull down and countersink itself below the surface, making it somewhat unseen.

Drywall Screws: These screws are meant to be used for hanging drywall. There are usually two different types, fine-thread and coarse-thread. The fine-thread type is used when attaching drywall to steel studs and will have a self-tapping tip, since this will be needed to pre-drill into the steel. The coarse-thread type are used to attach drywall directly to wood studs. Both styles have very sharp points, allowing the screw to go in quickly and reduce the amount of tearing.

Sheet-Metal Screws: These screws can be used in many different materials including plastic, rubber, and various metals. They are very good fasteners, thanks to their sharp and customized threads, to give you a good solid joint.

Self-Tapping Screws: This type of screw can come in all the above styles. They have a distinctive tip to drill their own pilot hole as you drive the screw. The disadvantage here, is that if you need to disassemble your piece, it will strip out your screw hole, not allowing you to reassemble without using a large fastener.

Building a Project - Shopping

It’s a good idea to buy an extra 15-20% more material than what your plan calls for. This will allow you to work around defects like knots, and helps you get good grain and color match. Another advantage is that you can create test pieces, and cut new parts if you make a mistake.

Cost can vary greatly, but primarily depends on what type of material you use to build your project. You can always go with a lower-grade material, and then finish or stain it for a higher-end look. Generally priced by quality, higher-end materials are typically easier to work with. Do some research and price out the options so you can pick the material that best suits your style, budget, and project needs.

Try to stick with the exact item that is described in the plan, even if that means checking out other stores or buying online. In some instances, it is okay to switch to a different item. For example, if your local home center does not have the type of wood listed in the plan, or if you don’t like that type of wood, it’s okay to pick something different. However, when it comes to fasteners, it’s best to stick with what’s listed in the plan.

It is important to make sure that you own, or have access to, all of the tools your project plan calls for. If you don’t, you’ll need to go shopping. To avoid the hassle of having to make multiple trips, create a shopping list beforehand. List out all of the tools, hardware, and any other items you will need to complete the project. Check items off as you find them. Happy shopping and building!

Look over the plan that you are building and create a list of items you will need. Most plans have a Tools/Materials List, which you can use this as the basis for your list. It’s never a bad idea to have extra screws and scrap wood on hand for testing setups, finishes, and in case you make a mistake.

Building a Project - Transporting

If you don’t have a local source for lumber or a way to haul it home, consider buying your wood online. Although shipping costs may add up and you can’t physically see what you’re getting, there are many benefits to buying wood online. Your choices in wood species and grain configurations are essentially endless when you expand your search online. Plus, many online vendors offer “bundle” deals with free shipping when you buy in bulk. This may be a good option when you need to stock up on wood for your next project.


Once you’ve purchased your material, be prepared to get it home safely and securely. Whether it’s going inside or on the top of your vehicle, you will need to secure it to prevent shifting and causing damage during travel. A moving blanket, ratchet straps, bungee cords, stretch wrap, and a warning flag to attach to long pieces will simplify transporting your materials back to the shop without causing damage to the wood or your vehicle.

Depending on the size and amount of material, you might be able to get it all home with your own vehicle in just one trip. If you need to haul large sheet goods, having access to a truck is ideal. Many stores are now offering trucks for rent to get your materials home. Almost all home improvement stores offer a delivery service as well. While this usually means that they will deliver the materials to your preferred location, sometimes the unloading must be done by the customer.

Building a Project - Wood

The size that is stated on the store shelf is the “nominal” size, not the “actual” size. Due to the manufacturing process, the finished good that you are buying will be smaller than the stated size. For example, a board listed as 2 x 4 will actually be 1 ½” X 3 ½”. Make sure to take this into account when creating your plan, as this can change how the final piece will turn out. Always use the actual size in calculations and measurements.

Boards at most lumberyards are going to be broken down into two different categories: softwoods and hardwoods. They are very different and they will be worked with differently.

Softwoods will have large grain patterns, giving your screws less material to hold on to. Softwoods will usually be cut from the same specias as construction-grade lumber but will be of a higher quality.

Hardwoods will have very small grain patterns, providing more material for your screw to hold on to. Most lumberyards will have a few variations, including Oak and Maple to name a few. Hardwoods are more expensive, but will give you the best finish.

The type of wood you should use depends upon your project type and how you plan to finish it. However, here are the most common types you will find at your local home improvement center or lumber store:


These sheets are made by gluing wood veneers sheets together to make larger, stronger sheets. They are less expensive than solid wood but just as strong. Within sheet goods, there are different types:

  • Sheathing – mainly used for construction purposes. It will have many defects and will be rough. However, this will be your least expensive option.
  • Sanded ply – will be of a better quality than sheathing. It will be flatter and have a smoother surface. It’s mainly used for utility or garage projects that will be painted.
  • Hardwood ply – has a hardwood veneer as the top layer, allowing you to sand and finish it as if it was real wood. This will be your most expensive option of the sheet goods.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

MDF is made by gluing sawdust together under high pressure to create a very strong sheet good. This material will be very flat and can be painted easily.

Particle Board or Melamine

This material is most commonly seen in furniture you buy from the store. It is not as strong as MDF or plywood but will work if being used in lightweight applications.

Outdoor Lumber

There are two main choices when it comes to outdoor materials. They are listed below.

  • Pressure-Treated – is made from either Pine or Douglas Fir, treated with chemicals to preserve the wood. It’s fairly inexpensive, but does require special fasteners.
  • Cedar – naturally withstands exposure to moisture. It has a better finished look, but is also going to be more expensive.

Construction Lumber

This material is usually labeled SPF, which stands for Spruce, Pine or Fir. These will all have similar appearances and will usually finish the same.


If you are using solid wood in your projects, they will be the strongest and will give you the best finished look. There are different types available. The most common are listed below.

  • Pine/Whitewood – comes in various different grades. The differences will be apparent when comparing two side by side. The lower grades will have a large number of knots and will usually have a little warping. The higher grades will have very few knots and will be the straightest.
  • Poplar – the most common material used if the project is to be painted. It will be fairly knot-free and will finish very easily.
  • Oak – the most classic hardwood and the most recognizable. It is going to be very strong and easy to finish, but will come at a higher price.
  • Maple – very common in high-end furniture and cabinetmaking. It is very hard and can sometimes be difficult to work with for the beginner woodworker, but has a beautiful finish.

General Questions

You can download a new owner’s manual from the corresponding product page and kregtool.com/manuals.

The prices listed on kregtool.com are in US dollars.

Kreg wants to thank the active, veteran, retired & reservist personnel of our brave US Armed Forces for their service to our country. We are proud to support them in experiencing the benefits of connecting head, heart and hands through DIY wood projects.

Please contact our customer support team at technicalsupport@kregtool.com or 800-447-8638, M-F, 8am-5pm CST for discount information.

To process your order and notify you of status changes, we need your full name, phone number, email address, mailing address, credit card number, and its expiration date. Phone numbers will not be used for sales calls. If you supply us with your postal address online, you may receive periodic mailings from us with information on new products and services or upcoming events. If you do not wish to receive such mailings, please contact our Customer Service Department by phone at 800-447-8638.

You may voluntarily sign up to receive the Kreg Plus, a free monthly newsletter delivered right to your email inbox each month. It’s filled with helpful tips and tricks, project inspiration, and more. For this service, we need a current email address. Email addresses are not used for any other purpose and are never shared with outside parties. When you enter a contest or other promotional feature, we may ask for your name, email, phone, address, etc. to administer the contest and notify winners.

Orders & Shipping

Orders placed on the website are shipped FedEx. To specify a carrier, please call Kreg Customer Service at 800-447-8638 for availability and a price quote.

Kreg Tool Company honors a 90-day money-back guarantee, less shipping and processing charges. For any returns, contact Kreg Customer Service directly at 800-447-8638.

We currently ship to all 50 US States and many countries worldwide.  Freight rates are determined based on ship to country. Please call Customer Service at 800-447-8638 for assistance if assistance is needed in placing your order.

Because we use UPS or FEDEX for our shipments, we are not able to ship to a P.O. Box address. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

We do not currently ship to Canada through our online shopping cart. Please use our Dealer Locator or International Dealer Locator to find the Kreg Dealer nearest you.

Your refund will be issued in the same method your original payment, and may take up to ten (10) business days to be processed by your bank.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to modify your online order once it has been submitted.  Please call Customer Service at 800-447-8638 to change the order. This number is staffed Monday through Friday, 8am–5pm Central Time.

If you received a faulty item and need to exchange it for the same item, please email or call our Customer Service Team to expedite your exchange. If you would like to exchange your item for a different one, please email or call our Customer Service Team to expedite the return. Feel free to place another order online for the item you wish to purchase. You do not have to wait for us to receive the original item before placing the new order. Please contact Customer Service by emailing customerservice@kregtool.com or by calling 800-447-8638.

At this time, we do not accept tax-exempt orders via online shopping. If you would like to place a tax-exempt order for resale, please contact our Customer Service Team at 800-447-8638.

You may return any Kreg product that does not meet your expectations within 90 days of delivery for a full refund. We’ll also pay the return shipping costs if the return is a result of our error. You should expect to receive your refund within four weeks of giving your package to the return shipper; but in many cases, you will receive a refund more quickly. This time period includes the transit time for us to receive your return from the shipper (5 to 10 business days), the time it takes us to process your return once we receive it (3 to 5 business days), and the time it takes your bank to process our refund request (5 to 10 business days). We’ll notify you of your refund via email once we’ve received and processed the returned item.

You can track your order here. We will also send you a FedEx tracking number by email when your order ships. You can follow the progress of your shipment by entering your number on FedEx.com.

Return labels provided by Kreg Tool Company are valid for domestic returns only. In addition, if you use a shipping label provided by Kreg and your return is not the result of our error, the shipping cost of the returned item(s) will be deducted from your refund.

First, contact Kreg Customer Service at 800-447-8638 for a Return Materials Authorization. Pack the items and packing slip securely in a box. Affix a shipping label on the package’s exterior, and then take the package to your local shipping center.

Occasionally packages are returned to us as “undeliverable.” When the carrier returns an undeliverable package to us, we issue a full refund that includes shipping charges.

We are unable to re-ship orders that are returned to us as undeliverable. If you would like to re-purchase items that were deemed undeliverable, you are welcome to place a new order on our website.

If you suspect your order cannot be delivered as addressed and you have not received confirmation of its return or refund after four weeks from the estimated delivery date, please contact us by emailing customerservice@kregtool.com or by calling 800-447-8638.

We accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express credit cards, as well as PayPal and PayPal Credit. If you would like to pay by check, you must place your order by calling Customer Service directly at 800-447-8638.

We will ship your product(s) as soon as possible once your order has been processed. Please reference the chart below to estimate the number of days it will take to receive your order from the time you receive your email shipping notification. You may also track your order shipment online at FedEx.com using the tracking number supplied in your emailed shipping confirmation.

We are required by law to collect sales tax in any state that we hold a physical presence, or “nexus” in. This “physical presence” is loosely defined: It can be ANY location, facility, employee, call center, address, or even one independent sales person in a state. We have established this “nexus” through the employment of an independent sales rep for each of the 50 United States. We are required, and do collect and remit sales tax in each state. The tax, as it appears on your order confirmation, is estimated based upon the base tax rate for your state. Any local taxes will then be added to the total amount in your final invoice.

Chances are, your order included one of our large machines. Any order containing a large machine will be palletized on a truck. As a result, our system generates two separate orders and sends you two confirmations.

Our carriers may deem a package undeliverable for one of the following reasons:

Incorrect Address – If the address in incorrect or outdated, the package is typically returned to us by the carrier. Please double-check your address carefully when placing your order.
Damaged Label. In rare cases, it is possible that the address label becomes illegible during the shipping and handling process, or that the carrier made a mistake and left the package at a different address than what was printed on the label.

Failed Delivery Attempts – Most of our carriers make three attempts to deliver a package. Packages that contain more than $700 of merchandise will always require a signature. Otherwise, it is generally up to the driver’s discretion to determine whether a signature is required. If the driver feels it is best to obtain a signature and no one is present to accept the delivery after three attempts, the package will be returned to us.

Refused by Recipient – If a gift recipient is not expecting a gift, they may refuse the package if they believe it was sent to them in error. If you still want to send these items, you may want to let the recipient know that a surprise is on the way.

Replacement parts are available directly from Kreg:

Kreg Tool Company
201 Campus Drive
Huxley, IA 50124

Projects & Plans

We are accepting project plans that we have sponsored. If you are interested in being sponsored by Kreg, please visit kregtool.com/influencers for our requirements and application form.


Please visit kregtool.com/warranty for more information. All warranty information, if applicable, is located on the corresponding product page.

If you have a question about warranty, please contact Kreg directly for warranty service or assistance.

Kreg Tool Company
201 Campus Drive
Huxley, IA 50124

The Plunge Saw is covered by a 2-year warranty, as explained in the owner’s manual.


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